Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cilantro Mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise is one of my favorite things to make lately, and I've come up with an even tastier version!  This recipe was an attempt to replicate the famous Cilantro Sauce at the Venezuelan restaurant El Arepazo.  While I was not successful in making a sauce that tastes just like theirs, my sauce has similar flavors and is creamy, fresh, and particularly fantastic with salad, raw veggies, burgers, fish, and chicken.  It's especially easy to make now that we are growing an abundance of cilantro in our front flower beds! 


Cilantro Mayonnaise

2 eggs at room temperature
2 T fresh lemon juice 
1 tsp dried mustard powder OR dijon mustard
1 c light olive oil

1/2-3/4 cup fresh cilantro (no need to chop it up- just tear the leaves off of the stems)
1/2 large avocado
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
a few shakes of cumin
a few shakes of cayenne pepper

Blend egg, lemon juice, mustard powder/mustard with immersion blender (or in food processor) until frothy.  Then slowly, drop by drop, add the light olive oil as you continue to blend.  Add oil slowly until it is all added, blending the whole time.  Continue to blend after you've added all of the oil until the mayonnaise has thickened, coating the head of the immersion blender.  Then add avocado, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne.  Blend again until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crockpot Whole Chicken

I made this chicken yesterday and was absolutely thrilled with the results!  Basically, I had a whole, thawed chicken in the refrigerator and wasn't sure what to do with it.  Rem makes some awesome beer can chicken and rotisserie chicken on the grill, but since I do not possess his grilling skills, I had to decide on some kind of indoor cooking method.  I had never tried a whole chicken in the crockpot so I gave it a stab and it was SO easy and SO good!  The only caveat is that the chicken skin does not get as crispy as when it is grilled or roasted in the oven.  But, slow cooked in the crockpot, the chicken gets so tender that it falls off the bone.  It literally does melt in your mouth!  I don't think I've had more tender chicken in my life!  I highly recommend this recipe for it's simplicity and superb taste.  

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crockpot Whole Chicken

Originally from Paleo Slow Cooking by Chrissy Gower

1 fresh Bell and Evans Whole Chicken (3-5 pound chicken)
1 T coarse kosher salt
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T seasoning of choice (I used an Italian seasoning mix with garlic, basil, marjoram, thyme, and pepper)

1. Rinse chicken and remove giblets from the inside cavity if there are any.  
2. Dry chicken thoroughly and place in crockpot breast side up.  
3. Rub chicken (the whole outside as well as the inside cavity) with salt, pepper, and other seasonings.
4. Turn the crockpot to HIGH and set the timer for 5 hours (anywhere from 4-6 hours should work as well).
5.  No need to stir or do anything while the chicken cooks!  After 5 hours, your chicken will be ready to go. You'll know it's done because the chicken will be falling off the bone.
6.  Remove chicken from crockpot and place on cutting board or large plate  Separate into pieces for serving.  You probably won't even need a knife because the chicken is so tender that you can separate it into pieces with your hands!  

This chicken is delicious on it's own, served with some veggies on the side, but here are some other ideas for what to do with it:
1. Shred chicken with your hands and use as the base for your favorite chicken salad.
2.  After removing the chicken from the crockpot, strain the liquid that remains in the crockpot, getting rid of any solid pieces.  Pour the strained liquid back into the crockpot.  Shred the chicken and add it back to the crockpot.  Make your own chicken soup by adding some more water or chicken stock, vegetables, and cooked rice/quinoa/brown rice noodles.  Heat on low until the veggies are cooked through.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Paleo Stuffed Mushrooms

So far this summer we've had several potlucks and get-togethers with friends, and this dish (along with raw veggies) is one we have been taking to those events!  For the first potluck I decided stuffed mushrooms would be a great app to share with friends and then set about creating this recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  We had a bunch of fresh oregano from our CSA, and I knew I wanted to use ground beef as the basis for the filling.  Mushroom and garlic make everything better, and I thought the roasted red peppers would add a nice pop of color and flavor.  Because I don't eat gluten, I thought almond meal would be a good alternative to the traditional breadcrumbs used to thicken a meat mixture like the one I used to stuff these mushrooms.  With these ideas in mind I created this yummy filling for the mushroom caps.  I was extremely happy with the way these mushrooms turned out and have made them several times since creating the recipe!  The first time I made them, I used 2 lbs. of ground beef and had a ton of leftover "filling" mixture, so I used it to make meatballs!  The meatballs were fantastic!  I just formed the meat mixture into golf ball sized balls, placed them on a broiler pan, and baked at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  

Paleo Stuffed Mushrooms

3 pints of baby bella mushrooms
coconut oil to grease pan
1 small white or red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb. grassfed ground beef
2 roasted red/yellow peppers (I use a few pieces of the jarred kind), minced
1 egg
1/3 almond meal

1. Grease 13x9 glass baking dish with coconut oil.  Also put some coconut oil in a medium saute pan.
2. Wash mushrooms and carefully remove stems.  Mince stems.  Place mushrooms caps in glass dish.
3. Mince onion, garlic, and oregano.
4.  Heat saute pan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms stems, onion, garlic, oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper (in the recipe I said "1/4 tsp" of each, but I really don't measure it, I just sprinkle "some" of each spice on top of the veggies).  Saute until mushrooms and onions are soft.
5. Meanwhile, chop roasted red peppers and add to large mixing bowl.  Also add: ground beef, egg, almond meal, and a light sprinkling of: more oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, and pepper.
6.  After onion and mushroom mixture is done cooking, add to the ground beef mixture and mix well with hands.
7.  Form meat mixture into small balls (about half the size of a golf ball) and place into mushroom caps.
8.  Bake mushrooms, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
9.  Once mushrooms are done, remove from glass dish with tongs and place on serving tray or in another dish (so that they are not soaking in the fat).
10.  Serve hot!